Donna Jo’s Butterfly Quilt

Donna Jo’s Butterfly Quilt


I have never attempted to write down a quilt design before, so bear with me if I use the wrong terms!


At the end of each section, I put a link to a video.


I drew the inspiration for this quilt from the butterfly block from Hearts a Flutter by Riley Blake designs.


For my entire quilt, according to some handy quilt calculators at quilter’s paradise, I used: 

3 ¼ yards light purple 

3 ¼ yards bright blue

3 ¾ yards of tropical print

4 ¼ yards backing 

In reality, I did not keep track of yardage as I went because I had plenty of fabric and only a vague idea of what I wanted to do. (The story behind the quilt is at the bottom of these directions, which explains where my mind was a little bit.) I used quilt calculators after the fact.


Quilt Calculator

Backing Yardage Calculator


My finished quilt was 76 x 64 

*May need additional yardage if fussy cutting.

Since I had a one way fabric, for the biggest part of the quilt, I used a design that wasn’t too wasteful.


If you’d like a larger quilt, you could add a border to get up to desired size, which was my plan, but decided this was large enough for me.


Start with a Butterfly Block


I made five with a purple background and five with a blue background. The butterfly is made from a bright tropical print.


For each (one) butterfly block I used

Background fabric (I used solid purple and an “as solid” blender blue)

Four solid/background 3 inch squares

Four solid/background 1 3/4 inch squares 

Two solid/background 4 3/8 inch squares 


For the butterfly wings, I used the print fabric.

Two 4 1/4 x 5 1/4 rectangles 

Two 5 1/4 x 6 ¾” rectangles 


For the center of butterfly

One 1 x 4 3/8“ rectangle of solid or as solid fabric

One 1 x 3 inch of solid or as solid fabric 

One 1 x 4 1/8 inch of black fabric for butterfly body (center piece)


My butterfly blocks ended up about 10 ½ inches. 

Video #1 Butterfly Quilt Block


Step # 2

For this quilt I made two rows of five blocks. 

I used the placement method from the Mary Elizabeth Butterfly Quilt.

(So pretty! I may make one of these.)

Each row had the same background color and I used sashing to offset the butterflies to add movement. 


To join five blocks I cut from the solid fabric:

Five 2 ½ x 10 ½ inch strips 

Four 2 ½ x 12 ½  inch strips 


I attached a 2 ½ x 10 ½ strip to the BOTTOM of three butterflies, and the TOP of the other two. This way alternating butterflies will be either high or lower. 

In between each of these blocks (with one higher, one lower), I added another 2 ½  x 11 ¾ inch strip and joined them together.


Then I thought I needed a border around this lovely strip of butterflies, and settled on a 3 inch (or finished it would be 2 ½ inch) border all the way around. 

I cut from the solid (or as solid) fabric:

Eight 12 1/2 x 3 strips 

Four 5 ¾ x 3” strips 

Two 17 ¾ x 3“ strips 


I started with the 5 ¾ x 3 inch pieces, and sewed one along the 3 inch side to one of the 12 ½ x 3 inch pieces.

To make this strip, I did a short (5 ¾ x 3) then four longer (12 ½ x 3) then finished it with a short (5 ¾ x 3).

I did the same thing for the top border. 

I attached these long strips to the bottom and top of my panel, centering the seams beneath each butterfly. (there might be a better way to do this but it worked.)

I trimmed off the ends and squared it up.


Then I attached the two 17 3/4 x 3” strips to the sides.

Video #2 Joining the Butterfly Blocks


Step #3 

I created a (Bargello?) pattern between the two strips of butterflies

I cut three 6 inch x 40-43ish strips. I chose this measurement because it was easy to use my six inch wide quilting ruler as a guide and cut the length of my fabric.

I cut three 6 x 40 of the print

One 6 x 40 of purple

One 6 x 40 of blue


The pattern is as such:







I sewed them together in the above order, print/solid/print/solid/print along the long sides.


Then I pressed. I used a quick strip piecing tip I saw somewhere to cut long 3 inch strips from this one large piece to create sections of alternating fabric. (see the video for placement of cutting lines)

I ended up with thirteen strips.

This makes ONE section/panel.

I did four sections so I could machine quilt as-you-go because a large quilt is too hard for me to handle. 


Each finished panel measured 26 x 33.

There were four of these.


#3 Butterfly Quilt Strip Piecing the Center Panels


I decided to place my strips of butterflies at the top end of the quilt and at the center of the quilt.


After I finished my panels I laid out my quilt design in the following manner:

Purple butterfly panel 

Upper right, upper left strip piecing sections 

Blue butterfly panel

Lower right, lower left strip piecing sections


I did free motion quilting to my sections and then connected them to make the whole quilt. 

Donna Jo’s Butterfly Quilt Video 4 Quilt As You Go and Free Motion Troubleshooting


For the binding I cut

Nine  2 ¼ x 40 inch strips (I used three of each fabric)


I named this particular quilt, All Things Made New.


As with all quilts, this one has a story.


I started making this quilt when my mother went into the hospital for what we knew would be the last time. She was ready to go, but it was still hard. This was my grieving quilt. 


She loved lavender and lilac. The butterfly and the bright colors symbolize new life. She wasn’t one for bright colors, but her best friend, Polly was, and as I assembled and sewed this quilt, the fabrics made me think of both of them. 


It brought me a great deal of comfort to work out my sorrow and find peace in knowing that she is free from her troubles now and reunited with my dad and her friends and family who have gone before. The work was a reminder that there is always new life in Christ, now and forever.